Gingerbread Men Garlands


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The smell of ginger and cinnamon conjures up memories of helping my grandmother prepare for Christmas. Any age child will enjoy making gingerbread men. While my eldest daughter helped to string the garland, younger children will enjoy counting and sorting the gingerbread men. We hung these fragrant garlands as a nostalgic tribute to Christmases past.


1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Small gingerbread man cookie cutter
Twelve yards of 1/4-inch satin ribbon
A child's embroidery needle


1. Preheat the oven to 3500.

2. In a large mixing bowl, blend the shortening and the sugar.

3. Beat in the molasses and the water.

4. Add the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix well.

5. Separate the dough into two balls and refrigerate for one hour.

6. On a floured board, roll each ball out to 1/4-inch thickness. With a small cookie cutter, press out the gingerbread men and place them on a greased cookie sheet. To make quarter-inch holes for stringing the garland, use the eraser end of a new pencil. These holes will later shrink during baking. Press two holes into the chest of each gingerbread man.

7. Bake at 3500 for eight to ten minutes.

8. Cut the satin ribbon into twelve pieces, each one-yard in length. Tie a knot two-inches from the end of each piece. Thread the other end through a child's embroidery needle.

9. When the gingerbread men have cooled, let the children group them into piles of ten. Thread them, one at a time, onto the ribbon. The hands of the gingerbread men should almost touch. After stringing the tenth man, tie a knot in the ribbon. Do not be discouraged if a few gingerbread men break. Toss the broken pieces together with a few sprigs of pine for a Christmas potpourri.

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